I grew up in the America where you saluted the flag EVERY time you saw it.
Where little leaguers paraded into their stadium on Opening Day and then took off their ballcaps -without being told- and stood rigid as fence posts while the National Anthem played.
Where being on a government assistance program was embarrassing and if you found yourself there...you busted your butt to get off as fast as you could.
Where you went to church on Sunday, and so did the local business owners...because they didn't have to open on Sunday to stay afloat.
Where whether or not you were a Catholic, you respected the local Priest if you saw him. Same for the local minister or Rabbi.
Where voting was taken seriously, and talked about passionately, but it never ended friendships, mostly because, while the Dems and the Repubs differed on the means, they agreed on the ends back then. Now...it's a battle between a communist takeover and a group who lost it's vision, it's connection with it's people, and it's soul.
Where a cop was respected, admired, and typically someone from the neighborhood.
Where sports were what we PLAYED far more than what we watched.
Where professional athletes sold us cars and sneakers...not tried to influence our votes or our social positions. (Except on the matter of race...which was important enough to need those voices)
Where a man who worked hard was respected, and saw the fruit of his labor after years of toil, and his neighbors didn't want the government taxing it all away from him because they were envious. They saw him as an example of what hard work could achieve.
Where little boys dreamed of being astronauts or jet pilots or star athletes or doctors or engineers or police / fireman. Or building a business that bore your name and served your community. Not DJ's making millions for creating a drum loop.
Where journalism was respected and if you read it in the paper it was true. Unvarnished, unbiased, TRUE.
Where a soldier was awe inspiring.
Where a tattoo on a man told a story that sometimes brought him tears when he told it.
Where kids knew that communism and socialism were evil.
Where being an American meant a swelling pride -even with our mistakes- and being American was the focal point of our being here at all. It was what brought our parents and grandparents here and they never let us forget how good America had been to us.
When Fireworks on Independence Day were recognized as what they are...symbols of the battle we fought to become America.
Going to the polls this fall will be two entire generations who have no idea what any of this even means. THAT is why we have the candidates we have.
In that America, a Hillary Clinton would be in jail, and an example of what you tell your kids happens to you when you have no moral compass. And Trump would be an admired business man who's shortcomings made him unelectable.
I comfort myself by looking at this and realizing that a man or woman can learn to act Presidentially, but when someone is entirely bereft of character and integrity and has done the unspeakable, they are truly a lost cause.
But I hope we get serious about taking control of our heritage and getting back to that America. Liberals always say "It wasn't YOUR America!" I assume it's those who either never lived in the above mentioned era, or who had beliefs that opposed that sort of greatness.